ewport County put league action on the back burner on Saturday as their make their first appearance in this season's FA Cup away to Metropolitan Police FC.
Mike Flynn will look for a strong response from his side at Imber Court after conceding a 93rd-minute winner at Carlisle United last weekend. He said of that game, "After the first 15-20 minutes, I thought we played some of the best football I've seen at Newport County for a long, long time." It is this quality of football that the Exiles will have to take forward into Saturday if they are to ensure they're not on the wrong end of a giant-killing.
Premier Division South side Met Police, based in East Moseley, Surrey are perched in mid table in the league and come into this game on the back of a thrilling 4-3 win over Farnborough so will take confidence from that and the style of football they have to play to get by in the 7th tier will give Flynny's men a different type of examination to pass.
Flynn told the press that he will be leaving no stone unturned and will not be overlooking the opposition in spite of their lowly position in the football pyramid: "It'll be a test of character," he said. "Anyone who thinks we're going to turn up and win, they won't be playing; there's no chance of that [happening]. For any team, we've got to do the basics; outwork them, outfight them."
This call for back-to-basics football against Gavin Macpherson's side will be relieving to hear for County fans, who have seen a number of careless instances lead to goals being scored at the wrong end from their point of view, even in spite of the impressive form of Joe Day.
Flynn continued, "We know what it's like to be upset in the cup. There is absolutely nothing I'll be taking for granted; the players know what it means for the football club. I would never take the FA Cup lightly; it's a competition I love and looking at last season, you've seen what it could mean to clubs like Newport County."
Mike won't need reminding of the potential dangers of a tie that looks a formality, having himself played away to Burscough while at Gillingham. On this, he stated, "We went 2-1 up, I got sent off, we lost 3-2! That has happened to me but I've been on the end of some positive results as well."
The boss, who still hasn't formally retired from the game, subsequently bore suitable caution to the occasion: "They're going to be up for it; it's going to be a lively start but I'm confident we'll be more than up for it. The Met Police get the chance to giant-kill. But if we win and can get to the third round (following another win, of course), we'll have a chance to giant-kill if we get a good draw."
The injury crisis that has plagued County in recent times appears to be appeasing somewhat though as Flynn confirmed that Andrew Crofts is back on the grass and is hopefully not too far away from making some sort of return. Recent short-term signing Joss Labadie is also working hard on his match-fitness but neither will be ready in time for Saturday. Mark O'Brien and Scot Bennett should be available for Saturday after their respective injuries, as will Fraser Franks as his suspension does not include cup competition.
So a tie in prospect that will likely not be as easy as it looks on paper. It is widely believed that non-league football is a completely different animal to the Football League and has its own challenges, but surely this County side, through all it's faults, will have too much for the Met Police.
Prediction: None - it's a proper cup tie, anything could happen!